Shotgun Mics vs. Lavalier Mics: What’s Better for Smartphones?

Dive into a detailed comparison tailored for smartphone videographers. Discover which mic type best suits your mobile filming needs and ensures crisp audio quality.

The evolution of smartphone technology has catapulted mobile devices into the realm of professional filmmaking. But which microphones help you capture the best audio quality? Let’s explore the two most popular smartphone microphone options in-depth.

The Sound Significance in Smartphone Videography

In today's digital age, while captivating visuals are essential, impeccable sound quality is equally crucial.

While innovations have significantly enhanced the video capabilities of smartphones, achieving professional-grade audio remains a challenge. It's a challenge, though, that both shotgun and lavalier mics aim to address. Understanding the strengths and limitations of both microphone types can vastly improve the audio-visual experience, making content stand out in a saturated market.

Lav vs. Shotgun Mics at a Glance


Shotgun Mics

Lavalier Mics


Highly directional; captures sound from a specific front-facing direction.

Often omnidirectional; captures sound from all around, though directional lav mics are available.

Size and Portability

Usually larger, potentially bulky for smartphone use.

Small and easily concealable. Designed to be clipped to clothing.

Setup Time

Can take longer to set up and position, especially if adjusting for the best angle.

Quick setup. Clip and go.

Best Use Cases

Vlogging, street interviews, scenarios requiring focused audio capture.

Interviews, vlogs where the speaker is stationary, or any situation requiring discreet audio capture.

Interference with Clothing

Less likely since it’s not attached to the subject.

Potential for rustling noise if not placed properly.

Compatibility with Phones

Often needs additional mounts or grips for smartphones. Might require adapters.

Usually plugs directly into smartphones or comes with easily accessible adapters.

Price Range

Typically more expensive due to intricate design and capabilities.

Generally more affordable, but the price can vary based on features.

The Pros and Cons of Shotgun Mics for Smartphones

Shotgun microphones, often lauded for their precision in picking up sound, have seen widespread use in various professional settings. Their transition into the world of smartphone videography is a testament to their versatility. Let’s delve deeper into their unique characteristics:


Focused Audio Capture

One of the most significant selling points of shotgun mics is their directionality. Unlike other microphones that may indiscriminately pick up sounds from all around, shotguns are meticulously designed to focus on a particular area – usually what's directly in front of them. This is incredibly beneficial for smartphone users who, for instance, might be capturing a street musician amidst a noisy backdrop or conducting an on-the-go interview in a bustling marketplace.

Ambient Noise Control

This design doesn’t just hone in on the subject but also plays an active role in rejecting unwanted ambient noise. If you've ever tried recording a video in a windy park or a busy street, you'll know the challenges that background noises can present. The shotgun mic’s inherent design works to minimize these, ensuring your primary audio source remains clear and distinguished.


Size Concerns

While modern manufacturing has seen the creation of more compact versions tailored for mobile devices, some shotgun mics can still seem a tad bulky when paired with a sleek smartphone. It's essential to balance the need for audio quality with the practicality of the recording setup.

Setup Time

Unlike in-built mics or even some lavaliers, shotgun mics often require a bit more time to set up. There's the aspect of positioning it correctly to ensure optimal sound capture and, in some cases, adding windshields or other accessories to enhance audio quality. For spontaneous shoots or rapid transitions between scenes, this can be a potential drawback.

Handling Noises

Being larger, they can be more prone to handling noises, especially if you're moving around a lot with your smartphone setup. Careful handling and potentially investing in additional accessories to minimize this can sometimes be necessary.

The Pros and Cons of Lavalier Mics for Smartphones

Lavalier microphones, often affectionately termed 'lav mics,' bring an unmatched convenience to the table, especially in the domain of mobile videography. Their small, clip-on design has made them a favorite for everything from news broadcasts to interviews. Let’s explore their suitability for smartphone users:


Unbeatable Convenience

Perhaps the most significant benefit of a lavalier mic is its plug-and-play nature. There's no complicated setup - clip it onto your subject, connect to your smartphone, and you're set to record. This makes it a go-to choice for many who value the spontaneity smartphones offer, from impromptu interviews to vlogs.

Stealth Mode

Due to their diminutive size, lavalier mics are less intrusive and generally attract less attention. This is particularly beneficial when you're aiming for candid shots in public places or don't want the microphone to be the center of attention in your video.

Flexibility in Movement

Given that they're clipped to the subject, lavalier mics allow for a great deal of movement. Whether it’s a cooking tutorial where the host moves around the kitchen or a dance instructional video, the lavalier ensures consistent audio quality throughout.


Potential for Mic Rustle

As they're clipped to clothing, lavalier mics can occasionally pick up unwanted rustling sounds, especially if the subject is moving a lot. Proper placement and perhaps some trial and error are necessary to mitigate this issue.

Sound Quality Variance

While lavalier mics are excellent for capturing voice, they might not always match the depth and richness that some shotgun mics can offer. It's a trade-off between convenience and audio fidelity.

Fixed to Subject

This can be both an advantage and a limitation. While it allows for flexibility in movement, it also means that the sound source is more or less fixed. If you’re capturing a dynamic scene with multiple audio sources or changing focus, a lavalier mic might not be the best choice.

Interference Risks

Wireless lavalier mics, though offering more flexibility, can sometimes be prone to signal interference, especially in areas with numerous electronic devices. This could lead to inconsistent audio or drops in the recording.

Smartphone Compatibility and Selection Criteria

When it comes to smartphones, compatibility is paramount. Given the gradual phasing out of headphone jacks in newer phone models, ensuring your mic can connect seamlessly is vital. You might require specific adapters or connectors. Moreover, with smartphones symbolizing the epitome of portability, it's imperative that your chosen mic complements this, rather than acting as a cumbersome addition.

The Best Shotgun Mics for Smartphones

Price-to-quality, Movo's VXR10-PRO microphone can't be beat. The upgraded version of our best selling microphone lets you achieve unparalleled quality regardless of where you're filming.

Need something for interviews? Our DoubleMic is perfect for a two-way conversation with just your phone in the middle.

The Best Lavalier Mics for Smartphones

For ultimate versatility, the WMX-2 microphone system give you crystal clear audio regardless of what device you're using.

Tips for Smartphone Videographers

While having the right microphone is crucial, understanding how to maximize its potential is equally important. Here are some comprehensive tips for those eager to up their audio game.

Monitor Your Audio

Always prioritize real-time audio monitoring. By plugging headphones into your smartphone or using wireless earbuds, you can instantly assess the sound quality and make necessary adjustments. This allows for on-the-spot corrections and ensures that you won't discover audio issues only during post-production.

Understand Your Environment

The surroundings play a pivotal role in determining audio quality. Are you in a serene park or a bustling market? Anticipate challenges related to your environment. If you're near a construction site or a busy street, you might need to adjust your mic settings or position to minimize unwanted noises.

Wind is Not Your Friend

Outdoorsy shoots can be tricky, especially on windy days. Consider investing in windshields or furry windjammers to prevent those gusty interferences from ruining your audio.

Experiment with Mic Placement

The position of your microphone can drastically alter sound quality. Before settling into a recording session, take a few moments to test different placements. For lavalier mics, check different clipping spots. For shotgun mics, try varying angles and distances.

Stay Updated with Tech

The world of smartphone videography is dynamic, with new tools and technologies emerging constantly. Keep an eye on the latest microphone innovations, apps, and techniques that can enhance your audio recording capabilities.

Post-Production Enhancements

While capturing the best raw audio is vital, knowing a bit about post-production can be a game-changer. Simple tweaks, noise reduction, or equalization can turn good audio into great audio.

By incorporating these tips, you’re not just capturing sound; you’re ensuring your audience hears the narrative precisely how you envisioned.


The choice between a shotgun and a lavalier mic is subjective, heavily dependent on the specific requirements of your content, filming environment, and personal preferences. With the insights shared here, the decision-making maze should appear less daunting. In smartphone videography, while a picture can paint a thousand words, it's the sound that truly narrates the story.

At Movo, we believe your story deserves the best sound possible—and we’ve got the gear you need to make that happen.

Shop Smartphone Microphones & Equipment